EU retains sanctions on Fiji: good news for Fijian unions
The European Union decided on Monday (26 September) to extend its sanctions on Fiji for a further year, in the light of violation of the Cotonou agreement on respect for human rights, rule of law and democratic principles. This is a victory for trade unions in Europe and Fiji, where the trade union movement, Methodist Church and civil society in general is under attack from a military regime which is also running the economy into a brick wall.
Largely, these sanctions affect overseas aid for Fiji, but unions will also be turning their attention to EU trade agreements with Fiji, unless attacks on the freedom of association and freedom to bargain collectively cease. Unfortunately, Fiji seems to be moving in the opposite direction, with stricter and stricter controls on the right of unions to hold meetings, removal of workers’ rights in the public sector and the implementation of a new decree banning strikes and collective agreements in so-called essential services (such as transport, finance and utilities).
We are working with the Fijian TUC and other international unions to increase the pressure on Fiji’s military dictatorship to restore democracy and human rights, and get the economy moving again.